What does it mean to be part of a “nation of priests and a holy people?” It means uplifting fear to its source. How do we do that? By activating our da’at—our conscious awareness of G-d—and taking stock of ourselves at all times.
(Likutey Moharan I:15)
I once heard a rabbi from Israel speak about an interesting experience he had when he was visiting America. He was staying in a smallish town without many Jews en route to another speaking engagement, and before he left he needed to go downtown to buy a few things. While walking past the shops on Main Street, a local non-Jew stopped him and asked, “You’re a Jewish rabbi, aren’t you?” The visitor answered, “Yes.” The local went on, “Can you please tell me what you’re thinking right now?” Taken aback, the rabbi asked him in turn, “Why do you want to know what’s on my mind?” The man answered, “I want to know what a child of G-d is thinking about.”
The rabbi later said that it gave him pause, because the man was right. As a member of “a nation of priests and a holy people,” my thoughts really should be focused on G-d at all times.
G-d, you know how confused I am
And how my mind still wanders from holiness
Because of years and years of bad thoughts.
I have wasted so much time and immersed myself
In false and frivolous nonsense,
That I feel I have lost control of my thinking.
I am not alone with this problem,
For it is widespread in these times
When values are so far
From the ways of holiness.
But I beg You, dear G-d, have compassion
And guide me to find help and advice
From truly holy teachers.
Loving G-d, help me think clearly
And be able to focus on the truth.
Guide me, please, to pray to You
Sincerely and with meaning.
(Between me & You, p. 204-206)